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Russia responds to coaching criticism following figure skater's error-filled free skate

Kamila Valieva
Posted at 1:16 PM, Feb 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-18 16:18:31-05

Russia defended Olympic figure skater Kamila Valieva's coach following a free skate that was filled with mistakes.

The 15-year-old, who was allowed to compete after testing positive for a banned substance, was the gold-medal favorite going into the free skate.

However, she made numerous uncharacteristic mistakes, losing her balance on multiple occasions.

As she skated off the ice, obviously disappointed in her performance, she was met with immediate criticism from her coach.

Eteri Tutberidze reportedly told Valieva, "Why did you stop fighting?"

International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach said the interaction was filled with "tremendous coldness."

In response to those comments, Russia defended Valieva's coaching.

"He does not like the toughness of our coaches, but everyone knows that in elite sports, the coach's toughness is key to the students' victories," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, according to ESPN.

Valieva finished the competition in fourth place. Russian skaters Anna Shcherbakova and Alexandra Trusova won the gold and silver. Japan's Kaori Sakamoto earned the bronze.